Golf Buddies and Board Diversity

In corporate Singapore, golf is an important social network tool. But research shows that social networks often operate along gender lines. As such, golf being a male-dominated sport lends itself to reinforce social networks and bonding among men, potentially limiting its usefulness to female golf players. However, one may argue that playing golf allows women to enter prominent social networks and increase their involvement in the labor market. By engaging in a predominantly male activity, women may gain additional social capital, even beyond that of male golfers. In other words, “playing the boys’ game” may render female golfers being accepted by predominantly male corporate boards. In the study, we collect data of the directors of 431 Singapore-based firms listed on the Singapore Stock Exchange over a 15-year period. These firms have been actively traded in the last two years. Firms classified as REIT, Venture Capital and Mutual Fund were excluded. We also gather data from golfers’ handicap books, and match the director data with their golfing data. From these two sources of information, we generate a comprehensive database that includes 10,584 golfers and 1,646 directors.

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